and more reviews
Among the broad selection of publications on plastics are two in particular that have been selected for a detailed response. The oldest, ‘The Plastics Architect’, was clearly written for architects and designers as something of a primer for understanding the material, ‘how to do it’ and ‘why you should love it’. It is most likely that the book was largely written before the 1973 oil shock, but its publication in March 1974 coincided with the end of the crisis by which time the price of oil had risen 300%. The economic viability of plastics in building was much reduced and there is a palpable disjunction between the content of the book and the world into which it was launched. The most recently published of the selected books, ‘Life in Plastic’ is a wide collection of articles intended for a contemporary and critical reader that takes in a longer view of the cultural history of plastics. Its various approaches examine our perceptions of the material, the optimistic and pessimistic iterations of plastics and waste, and its shaping of global society in the past and for the future.